Only Six Countries Have Equality | Exercising in Hazardous Conditions | The Vlogger Diet

MARCH 6, 2019  /   SUBSCRIBE


“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

“Typically, people who exercise, start eating better and becoming more productive at work. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family. They use their credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed. Exercise is a keystone habit that triggers widespread change.” – Charles Duhigg



Go Out For Some Fresh Smog: In Dakar, Senegal, outdoor exercise is a way of life, particularly for those involved, or hoping to be, in professional sports. Every evening thousands of runners, wrestlers, soccer players and fitness fanatics are on beaches and streets working out. Normally that would be a good and healthy thing to do. But the very air these hard-working enthusiasts are breathing is considered by the World Health Organization to be extremely unhealthy. Dakar’s air exceeds by more than 5 times the limits set by the WHO for the amount of small particles that can be dangerous when inhaled. “It’s a real problem for respiratory diseases,” said the chief of Pulmonology at Fann University Hospital in Dakar. She estimated that a third of the population has some kind of lung ailment, and the number of childhood asthma cases at another of the city’s biggest hospitals had recently jumped.

There are signs the air quality is worsening. The city has almost doubled in size in the past decade. Trying to keep up with population growth means more construction, more vehicles on the highways, more trash accumulating. Constant smoke billows from cement factories; thick black clouds of particulate matter from waste being burned at a huge dump site waft straight into the city center. Recent offshore fossil fuel discoveries means stepped up activity by oil and gas companies.

Then there are the dust storms, from winds sweeping down from the Sahara during “harmattan” season between December and April, leaving a coating of powder so fine it slips under doorways and inside closed windows. Pedestrians and bikers on Dakar’s streets are starting to wear masks, reminiscent of cities like New Delhi or Beijing. Researchers predict the storms will worsen as rainfall levels decrease along the desert’s southern edge, and the Sahara expands.



Strike Two For Trudeau: second minister in Justin Trudeau’s cabinet resigned in protest Monday over accusations that the Canadian prime minister and his aides improperly tried to influence a criminal case against a multinational Canadian company accused of bribing the Libyan government. The resignation by the head of the treasury board, Jane Philpot, was unexpected, and serves to inflame a growing political crisis that has already cost Trudeau his former justice minister and his top aide. (NYT)

TripAdvisor Gets 0 Stars: A woman who was raped by a tour guide whose business was promoted on the world’s largest travel site, TripAdvisor, advised the hotel where the man worked, and also reported him to the police. She then contacted TripAdvisor, expecting them to flag the business or otherwise inform future visitors to the site of the potential safety risk. Instead TripAdvisor responded by suggesting the woman leave a first person review detailing her sexual assault on the website. A second woman had complained to TripAdvisor she’d had her drink spiked and was then raped at a resort in Jamaica. She underwent a rape test at a local hospital and still the hotel hired lawyers to come after her. Some 456 million people visit TripAdvisor every month to search for accommodation and other hospitality sites ranked according to user reviews. The resort where the second woman was assaulted currently has a 4.5-star rating out of 5. There is no flag on the hotel’s TripAdvisor page to suggest any such attack ever occurred. Individual reviews are presented chronologically and can quickly become “buried.” So the only way to know if anything bad had ever happened would be to scroll through and read more than 5,000 reviews. (Guardian)



Do Throw Stones At Glass Ceilings: A decade ago the World Bank began a study to measure whether countries afforded men and women equal rights. The goal was to “develop a better understanding of how women’s employment and entrepreneurship are affected by legal discrimination.” It highlighted “how women must navigate discriminatory laws and regulations at every point in their careers, limiting their equality of opportunity.” The study did not measure social and cultural factors, or how effectively laws were enforced. In Year One, the bank found that no country guaranteed a woman the same rights as a man.

Fast forward 10 years. “Women, Business and the Law 2019” is the bank’s report on the progress countries have made to guarantee legal and economic equality between the sexes. Only six—Belgium, Denmark, France, Latvia, Luxembourg and Sweden—scored 100 percent. France saw the biggest improvement for implementing a domestic violence law, providing criminal penalties for workplace sexual harassment and introducing paid parental leave. Countries in the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa averaged a score of 47.37. Saudi Arabia’s overall score of 25.63 was the worst in the world, while Sudan, the UAE, Syria, Qatar and Iran all scored below 35.

Top scorers were the UK (97.5), Germany (91.88), and Australia (96.88). The US scored 83.75, placing it outside the global top 50. Overall, the global average was 74.71, which was 4.5 percentage points higher than 10 years ago. Still, the score means that in the average nation, women receive just three-quarters of the legal rights that men do. At that rate of progress, women won’t achieve full equality in the areas studied by the World Bank until 2073, which does real economic disservice to the world’s bottom line. A 2015 report from the McKinsey Global Institute showed that closing the workforce gender gap could add $28 trillion to the global GDP — nearly the size of the US and Chinese economies combined.



Big Brother Blinks: The US domestic surveillance program that followed on the heels of the original massive surveillance scheme, secretly approved by then-president George W. Bush after the September 11, 2001 attack, has not been used for six months and is unlikely to be renewed, according to a key congressional aide. The program is set to expire at the end of the year. Under the original program the National Security Agency (NSA) collected the communication records of millions of US citizens indiscriminately and in bulk, regardless of whether or not they were suspected of wrongdoing.

The existence of the secret program was exposed by Edward Snowden in 2013, when he copied and leaked thousands of documents while working for an NSA contractor. The leak provoked a public outcry about the extent of domestic spying and invasion of privacy. In 2015, a federal appeals court ruled the existing program illegal. It was replaced under the USA Freedom Act, which ended the indiscriminate collection of metadata by the NSA and restricted it to the collection of data relevant to an investigation. (Guardian)

Commuting is Horrible And the Death of Vehicle OwnershipThe Most Expensive Commutes in America Aren’t in NYC or San Francisco And Corporate Shuttles Thrive in the Bay Area’s Traffic Jam: Ride-sharing and Big Tech buses are picking up the slack for lackluster public transportation.Driving and commuting is so horrible that Daily Pnut’s publisher no longer owns a car. This is possible in a big city with decent public transportation but not possible in most cities. Good riddance to parking fees, car maintenance, and car insurance. Tim is not the only one who is looking to not own a car: “This Is What Peak Car Looks Like: For many people, new forms of mobility are making privately owned vehicles obsolete.” And “Self-Driving Cars Might Kill Auto Insurance as We Know It: Without humans to cause accidents, 90% of risk is removed. Insurers are scrambling to prepare.” Uber/Lyft might have initially started as one that competed with taxi drivers. But not urban city dwellers think of it as vehicle as a service. And if this can happen to vehicles then we are betting this can also happen to home ownership and different forms of renting. (Bloomberg, $)



Like, Comment, Eat, And Subscribe: A doctoral psychology student wanted to know how much young kids diets could be influenced by video bloggers. So she and her colleagues conducted a study involving 176 children ages 9 to 11, who were divided into three groups. The groups were shown images from real YouTube videos posted by popular vloggers in the UK. Group A looked at vloggers who were not eating, but holding an object, like an iPhone or a sneaker. Group B viewed images of vloggers eating healthy snacks, like fruit or carrots. Group C saw vloggers eating junk food, like Mars bars or cookies. All three groups then had 10 minutes to choose between eating a healthy snack or an unhealthy snack. The result? Watching social media influencers consume healthy snacks made no significant difference in which foods — or how much — children in Group B chose to eat.

But the kids in Group C consumed 32 percent more calories from unhealthy snacks compared with the kids in Group A, who hadn’t viewed any food being eaten. That translated to an extra 90 calories per day for the Group C kids. And according to a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics: “It only takes an extra 70 calories a day for a child of normal weight to become overweight.” (NPR)




“If you are in a bad mood go for a walk. If you are still in a bad mood go for another walk.” – Hippocrates

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